Locally known as Duke City, Albuquerque is New Mexico's largest city. It's found in the high desert, with a modern downtown area that contrasts with famous Old Town Albuquerque. Old Town Albuquerque dates back to the city's roots as a Spanish Colony, founded in the year 1706. The area offers one-of-a-kind historic buildings, made out of traditional adobe materials.
Although Albuquerque is largely famous for its rich history, the city offers limitless urban amenities that make it an enjoyable place to live. Among these amenities are numerous senior living communities, including Assisted Living residences that provide personal care.
All assisted living communities in Albuquerque are subject to the state's licensing provisions which determine the types of services and housing they must provide. This guide will discuss New Mexico's regulations for assisted living communities, helping retiring families understand more about these types of residences before moving in.
Albuquerque Assisted Living
In New Mexico, all assisted living communities are licensed by the New Mexico Department of Health, Division of Health Improvement, Health Facility Licensing and Certification Bureau. Previously, New Mexico referred to assisted living communities as Adult Residential Care Facilities, however, the terms are used interchangeably today.
In New Mexico, assisted living facilities are defined as entities that provide programmatic services, like social activities, events, and assistance with residents’ activities of daily living.
To qualify as an assisted living facility in Albuquerque, a community must provide assistance with one or more activities of daily living to at least two individuals. These activities may include eating, bathing, dressing, or maintaining personal hygiene.
When a person signs their resident agreement, it should define the scope of the services they will receive, the cost of the services, and the resident's discharge and admission criteria.
Assisted living facilities are not allowed to admit or retain individuals who need around-the-clock continuous nursing care. This may include potential residents who are ventilator-dependent, have stage 3 or 4 pressure sores, who require chemical or physical restraints due to health conditions, or who require intravenous therapy.
If a community can no longer meet a resident's needs, or if the person is dangerous to themselves or other residents, they may discharge the person according to New Mexico's regulations.
Assisted Living Communities vs. Other Types of Long-Term Care in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Assisted living is a popular type of long-term care for the services and amenities that it provides, but it isn't the right choice for everyone. In fact, some individuals may be better suited to other types of residential care that are available in the Albuquerque area.
For example, independent living is a suitable choice for those who want the benefits of community-based care but who do not need ongoing daily assistance with their activities of daily living. Independent living communities offer amenities and programmatic services like social events and activities, transportation, and more.
At independent living communities, residents enjoy maintenance-free living so they can live their retirement the way they've always imagined. With housekeeping services in apartment maintenance, residents are free to schedule their day-to-day activities however they please and participate in whichever activities interest them.
This contrasts from assisted living communities where personal care services are a staple for all residents. Staff assist community members with their activities of daily living, may provide medication administration, and help with household chores, like laundry in basic cleaning.
Both independent and assisted living are strictly non-medical types of long-term care. They do not provide skilled nursing care on-site, and are not staffed to do so. However, nursing homes are licensed and staffed to provide skilled nursing care, making them a more suitable choice for those with ongoing medical needs like chronic illnesses and injuries.
Before a family applies to a senior living community, they should speak with their physician to learn more about the types of long-term care services they need. Their physician can help them understand if an assisted or independent living community will be adequate to meet their daily needs, or if a nursing home may be necessary to preserve and encourage their well-being.
Standard Assisted Living Services and Amenities in Albuquerque, New Mexico
For an entity to receive their assisted living license in New Mexico, they must provide a handful of basic services and amenities as required by the state’s provisions. The services are exclusively non-medical and do not include types of skilled nursing care.
All assisted living communities in Albuquerque must provide assistance for each resident as necessary. This may include services like:
Assistance with their activities of daily living
Medication administration or assistance with self-administration of medications
Social or recreational activities and events
Laundry services and housekeeping
Specified nursing services
Additionally, communities must work with residents before admission to determine their level of care. Known as service planning, an interdisciplinary team must use pre-admission assessment with prospective residents to determine if the community can adequately meet their needs.
The community will develop a service plan based on the preadmission assessment, which a licensed nurse will review every 6 months to guarantee the person is receiving an appropriate level of care. If a resident undergoes a significant change in their health status, they will also undergo an additional assessment.
A personal service plan must describe the types of personal care they will receive, how often they will receive it, how it will be provided, and who will provide it.
Residents must be allowed to contract with hospice agencies and other third-party providers if they need services which are unavailable at their assisted living community. Their community must coordinate with the third-party agencies to provide care within the building.
Residents are entitled to three nutritionally balanced meals a day, including evening snacks. All meals and snacks must be served in accordance with the National Academy of Sciences Food and Nutrition Board’s daily dietary allowances.
If a resident has a therapeutic diet prescribed by a physician, their community must modify their meals accordingly. All staff who conduct food preparation must complete safe food handling courses and training prior to serving meals.
Assisted living apartments in Albuquerque
New Mexico does not require assisted living communities to provide apartment-style units. They may house one or two residents in one unit, with a minimum of one toilet, sink, and a bathing unit for every eight residents.
Private bathrooms and kitchens are not required but are common in many communities. In addition to the amenities required by the state of New Mexico, assisted living communities may provide optional resources like:
Individually controlled heating and air conditioning
Cable television hookups
Patios and balconies
It's important for families to tour their preferred communities before applying so they can see the apartments and senior living units for themselves. By touring, prospective residents can picture themselves calling the community home and have a better idea of how well it will fit their daily needs.
Things to Do in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque is a large, bustling city with a lot to offer. It's located in New Mexico's High Desert, surrounded by some of the nation's most breathtaking natural landscapes. Within the city, there are dozens of points of interest both indoors and out, offering many hours worth of fun for family members of all ages.
One such point-of-interest is the ABQ Biological Park. It serves as an environmental Museum, containing four individual facilities. These facilities, which include an aquarium, a Botanical Garden, Pazuzu, and a beach, offer dozens of unique exhibits that span more than a hundred acres total. More than 1100 animals are cared for at Albuquerque Biopark, as of 2016.
The Petroglyph National Monument is another must-see destination in Albuquerque, spanning more than 17 miles along the city’s West Mesa. Opened in June of 1990, the monument spans more than 7,000 acres and is managed by the National Park Service and the City of Albuquerque. Throughout the park, guests we'll enjoy one-of-a-kind archaeological sites that showcase thousands of prehistoric Native American artifacts, including drawings on stone walls. Along with the area's natural and historic beauty, guests can enjoy educational ranger talks and wildlife viewing during their stay at the grounds.
Looking for something to do inside? Then the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science is a must-see, featuring stones and gems, dinosaur fossils, and a unique time travel simulation ride. Founded in 1986, the museum has been offering exciting opportunities for guests of all ages for more than three decades. Today, guests can enjoy one of a kind of events and on-site movies they won't find anywhere else in Albuquerque.
Funding Assisted Living in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paying for long-term care can feel like a challenge for those who are transitioning from private living into a personal care home, but it doesn't have to be. There are dozens of resources available to help families pay for long-term care, including government-subsidized programs and specialty insurance policies. A person's financial need will play a role in which resources are available to them, particularly those which are provided by government entities.
Long-term care insurance is one of the most popular ways to pay for long-term care in Albuquerque. Many assisted living communities throughout the city will accept a long-term care insurance policy as payment, making it a convenient way to pay for housing and personal care services during a person's retirement.
However, long-term care insurance requires advanced planning to be affordable. In fact, the more quickly a person is approaching retirement age the more they can expect to pay each month for their premium. Monthly premiums for long-term care insurance vary and typically increase for those who are about to retire. For long-term care insurance to be affordable, and individual or family should purchase their policy as an advanced measure instead of a short-term solution to pay for assisted living.
When long-term care insurance isn't an option, families may consider one of the state’s government-subsidized programs to cover the cost of long-term care. Although Medicare will not pay for assisted living, Medicaid offers a handful of waiver programs designed for those who need assistance with their activities of daily living, but who do not want to receive care in a nursing facility.
To qualify for a Medicaid waiver in New Mexico, a person must meet the state's financial and medical requirements. Medicaid waiver programs in New Mexico may have additional financial eligibility requirements that are not applied to standard Medicaid benefits.
All Medicaid waivers in New Mexico require beneficiaries to need assistance with their activities of daily living, equal to a nursing home level of care. If a beneficiary chooses to receive care in a home or community-based setting instead of a nursing home, the facility of their choosing should adequately provide services that meet their long-term care needs.
Additional financial assistance programs are available for qualifying veterans, helping them pay for long-term care. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a unique Aid & Attendance program that provides an additional monthly pension to veterans who need ongoing assistance. The award is paid out each month in addition to each person’s standard monthly pension and may be used to pay for any facet of long-term care (including assisted living).
To learn more about the Aid & Attendance award, families can visit the program’s webpage or contact their VA caseworker for information.